2016-11-24 / Columns

Brother lost in WW II air battle

By LESLIE DISCH
Phone/fax 386-5686


A group of Omena residents recently attended a documentary film at the Glen Arbor Township Hall. Dick Kennedy, Dale Blount, Bill Fuertges, Larry Reynolds, Bob Grabowski, Bill Cron, and Bob Krist met at Art’s Tavern for dinner before attending the movie about a ferocious WWII air battle over Kassel, Germany in September of 1944. The mission resulted in the worst single-day loss from one airfield in history. The movie was accompanied by a presentation from Linda Dewey, the daughter of famed WWII pilot Bill Dewey who was a B-24 pilot in that battle. A group of Omena residents recently attended a documentary film at the Glen Arbor Township Hall. Dick Kennedy, Dale Blount, Bill Fuertges, Larry Reynolds, Bob Grabowski, Bill Cron, and Bob Krist met at Art’s Tavern for dinner before attending the movie about a ferocious WWII air battle over Kassel, Germany in September of 1944. The mission resulted in the worst single-day loss from one airfield in history. The movie was accompanied by a presentation from Linda Dewey, the daughter of famed WWII pilot Bill Dewey who was a B-24 pilot in that battle. A group of Omena residents recently attended a documentary film at the Glen Arbor Township Hall. Dick Kennedy, Dale Blount, Bill Fuertges Larry Reynolds, Bob Grabowski, Bill Cron, and Bob Krist met at Art’s Tavern for dinner before attending the movie about a ferocious WWII air battle over Kassel, Germany in September of 1944. The mission resulted in the worst single-day loss from one airfield in history. The movie was accompanied by a presentation from Linda Dewey, the daughter of famed WWII pilot Bill Dewey who was a B-24 pilot in that battle.

Bill Fuertges is also a WWII U.S. Air Force veteran. He enlisted in 1944, shortly before his eighteenth birthday. At that time, if you enlisted before you were eighteen, you could go into the Air Force (then called the Army Air Corps) instead of the infantry. Bill’s first cousin, Lt. John Colfer, was an airman who lost his life in that battle.

According to the book, “The Arsenal of Democracy” by A. J. Baime, of the over 400,000 American battle deaths in WWII, almost 80,000 – or nearly 20 percent - were airmen.

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The Omena community said good bye last week to one of its own members of the Greatest Generation, Elaine Southwell Fredrickson, who died last Thursday. Elaine was born in Omena on Oct. 21, 1920, and recently celebrated her 96th birthday with her family at Tendercare in Suttons Bay.

Elaine was the daughter of Rosa Brown Southwell and Sam Southwell, who lived on the family farm just south of Freeland Road. Elaine was baptized at the Omena Congregational Church. She attended Northport School. Elaine served in the United States Coast Guard during World War II. In 1948, she married George Fredrickson of Northport at the Omena Presbyterian Church. Their wedding reception was at Sunset Lodge.

Elaine wrote of her childhood memories in 2004 including stories about her grandfather Luke and of her early days on the family farm, leaving an intriguing snapshot of farm life in Omena. Elaine had a wonderful, dry sense of humor. She will be missed. Our sympathies go to her son and daughter, Gary Fredrickson and Deanne (Dede) Fredrickson Richter, their spouses Carol Fredrickson and Michael Richter, and her six grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren.

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This is a good time to give thanks for the many people who have served and sacrificed for our country, in the past and in the present.

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I am also thankful to be part of the Omena community. Not just to be living in beautiful northern Michigan, but also for the sense of community. Members of this community give their time willingly to help close at home and in the region. They look out for each other, and are always ready to help.

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Community members will have a good time Sunday at 2 p.m. at the annual “Deck the Village” during which the fire hall, Omena Historical Society, and post office will be decked out for the holidays.

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Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. will be the Northport Merchant’s Day and Tree Lighting. Be sure to visit Northport that day and enjoy all of the shops. The Northport Arts Association (NAA) show and sale will be in the new NAA building from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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On Friday and Saturday, December 2 and 3 at 7:30 p.m. at the Leland Community Methodist Church, the Leelanau Children’s Choir and Leelanau Youth Ensemble will perform their 24th annual Madrigal Concert. Tickets are available by calling 231-883-SING, or at the door.

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The Northport High School Drama Class will present S. E. Hinton’s “The Outsiders” at 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3. The performance repeats on Sunday, Dec. 4 at 4 p.m.

On Friday, December 9 from 10 – 11 a.m., there will be a very special Northport Public School student art show in the school lobby. It is a chance for the community to come and meet students and talk to them about their art. The theme of the show is “Paradox.”

Art teacher Jenny Evans said it will feature exploratory art with non-traditional media. Community members are encouraged to ask students questions such as why they chose a particular paradox, how they have grown as an artist through the project, and other questions that the show prompts.

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Mark your calendars for the NCAC’s Christmas Concert on Sunday, Dec. 11, at 3 p.m. in the NCAC auditorium.

On Sunday, Diane and Jack Joyce traveled with the Suttons Bay’s Friends of the Fine Arts to MSU’s Wharton Center in East Lansing to watch a performance of Wicked - the Untold Story of the Witches of Oz. They had a great time.

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Happy birthday to Bob Krist, Millard Mack, Lisa Makowski, and Eddie O’Brien. Thanksgiving must be another popular time for weddings. Happy anniversary to Chuck and Janet Dickerson, Myrn and Nonie Steele, Dave and Sandy Colling, and to Paul and Terri Harris.

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I hope that everyone has a wonderful, safe, and very Happy Thanksgiving.

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